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UK Police invite private security firms to bid for probing crimes

London, Sat, 03 Mar 2012 ANI

London, Mar 3(ANI): Two of England's largest forces, the West Midlands Police and Surrey Police have invited bids from private security companies to investigate some crimes and patrol neighbourhoods under plans being drawn up for the England and Wales police force


Private firms could be roped in to support victims and manage high-risk individuals.


The BBC reports that the British Home Office has stressed that these private security firms would not be empowered to arrest suspects.


The move comes after critics warned that privatising police services would make forces less accountable to the public.


British Home Secretary Theresa May had earlier suggested that forces could protect "front-line policing" by delegating some work to the private sector.


The contract has a potential value of 1.5 billion pounds spread over seven years, but could rise to a 3.5billion pounds, thus becoming the largest contract to date for a private company to provide police services.


A West Midlands police spokesperson said the move was aimed at transforming the way the force worked.


"The areas of service listed in this notice are deliberately broad to allow the force to explore the skills, expertise and solutions a partnership could bring," he said.


"Bringing the private sector into policing is a dangerous experiment with local safety and taxpayers' money. Unison's national officer for police and justice Ben Priestley said.


"We are urging police authorities not to fall into the trap of thinking the private sector is the answer to the coalition's cuts. Privatisation means that the police will be less accountable to the public. And people will no longer be able to go to the Independent Police Complaints Commission if they have a problem," he added. (ANI)


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